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people on international television. i don't believe that's the way to quell the jihad out there. and every war becomes a war poster for the other side. we know that, they know that. this time. be smart. and that's "hardball" for now lt. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. good evening from new york, i'm chris hayes, thanks for joining us. there's a lot to talk about tonight, including the news that the first male athlete in a major american professional support came out of the closet today. and six months after superstorm sandy, there were more stunning reminders in the midwest about the dangers of extreme weather and new reports on just how much money it's costing you. plus, the latest in the fight over fixing the sequester cuts, plus click 3. but first, there's brand new data out today that has
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completely altered how i understand the politics of guns and more broadly the potential of the obama electoral majority. it's new polling from one of the most accurate firms in the 2012 election cycle and paints a picture of the aftereffects of the gun safety battle that i could not believe when i first read it. before i get to that, though, here is basic structure of the politics on this issue up until right now. there's a relatively small, well-organized group of people who are incredibly intense about opposing any and all regulation having anything at all to do with guns. this group is made up of the gun industry, the nra and for lack of a better word, let's say gun enthusiasts. the main thing to remember any time you're trying to wrap your head around gun policy in this country is what you see in these two charts. okay. one shows the number of guns that exist in this country going up. while the other shows simultaneously the number of
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gun-owning households is going down. what that means is more and more guns are being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. more people are not buying new guns, more gun owners are buying more new guns. and that smaller group of people is more intensely interested in defending a zero regulation vision of gun rights. for a long time, that smaller and smaller number of people with more and more guns have been able to bully everybody else into going along with their vision of a lrjly unregulated firearms marketplace. but then there was the shooting of then congresswoman gabrielle giffords and 19 others in tucson which left six of those victims dead, including a 9-year-old girl. and the mass shooting in the aurora, colorado, movie theater that killed 12 and wounded 58 others. and then the straw that broke the camel's back, the shooting at sandy hook elementary school. the open question after that was would the sheer horror of that event and the images of these dead children shake up something
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about the political status quo that had previously benefitted the small and intense and well organized anti-gun regulation group? when legislation expanding background checks crafted with nra consultation by a bipartisan coalition of senators went down under the weight of a filibuster, it would not have been crazy to conclude at that point that the answer was sadly no. the politics on the issue were set and a single tragedy or even a series of monstrous tragedies no matter how awful would not fundamentally alter them. and even though background checks were polling at 91% approval with 88% support among republicans and 88% support among gun owners, i, myself, was genuinely skeptical from the very beginning that polling meant anything at all. in fact, almost by definition, something that polls at 90% is something that people don't care much about. it's very easy to tell someone who calls you up on the phone. yeah, sure, i support the idea of universal background checks. the question is, a week later, a month later or a year and a half later when you're in the voting booth. are you going to be angry enough
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that your member of congress didn't vote for background checks, you'll want to make them bay for it. and on that question, the answer has seemed to be no. in fact, polling after the big belly flop failure of the background check bill seemed to bear that out. the pew research center asked people how happy or how disappointed they were about the failure of the background check bill. and among the people who had strong feelings, more people described themselves as very happy that the bill failed and angry. in other words, the politics that brought us our horrible gun policy six months ago, a year ago and five years ago seem to be the same as the politics we have now. and that is the reason this new polling out today was so very surprising to me. because it presents a shockingly high political price being paid at this moment by certain members of the senate who voted against universal background checks. jeff flake represents the state of arizona where 70% of owners were against background checks. 52% of arizona voters say they're now less likely to
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support him in the future because of that vote. same goes for rob portman whose constituents in ohio support universal background checks by a 51-point margin. and now, almost twice as many ohio voters say they're less likely to support them in the future because of his vote against expanding background checks. both of alaska senators have seen a net drop in their approval ratings since their votes against the background check amendment. lisa murkowski down 16 points from the february approval rating. and kelly ayotte, her approval rating has dropped a net 15 points since the last time checked in november. and 50% of new hampshire voters and puolling out last week say her no vote will make them less likely to support her in the future. you can tell how serious these numbers are being taken because in the case of kelly ayotte, the folks at the nra feel they need to provide her with political coverage firming up these radio
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ads defending her against expanded background checks. >> senator kelly ayotte is focused on meaningful bipartisan solutions to our nation's problems. that's because kelly ayotte is not just a senator, she's also a mom who cares about protecting our kids. it's why kelly had the courage to oppose misguided gun control laws that would not have prevented sandy hook. >> and this remarkable and surprising polling relates to another key bit of electoral analysis out today which is that we now know for the first time ever, black voter turnout was higher than white voter turnout. in ohio, pennsylvania, virginia, florida and colorado. that is further evidence of the true significance of the obama coalition. it represents a genuine progressive majority in this country. and when the obama coalition is activated and invested on an issue they can change political gravity. they can make things orbit in a different way than they would
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have otherwise. in the wake of the sandy hook massacre, under the leadership, under a sudden outpouring of money, organization, effort, rhetorical leadership and passion, we've seen the political gravity around the issue of gun safety move faster and further than anybody would've guessed it could just a few months ago. so, yeah, that vote was a setback, a big one. the real story is the politics that come after the vote. and the president said as much himself on the day the background check bill went down under a senate filibuster. >> all in all, this was a pretty shameful day for washington. this effort is not over. i want to make it clear to the american people. we can still bring about meaningful changes that will reduce gun violence so long as the american people don't give up on it. >> that was the president's message on the very day the effort belly flopped in the senate. the effort's not over, don't give up. and this weekend, senator joe manchin, one of the main
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sponsors of the measure made it clear not only is he not giving up on the effort, he's incredibly confident about his getting passed in the future. the question is, how can this new political landscape be sustained. joining us tonight tom jensen director of public policy polling, and here executive director of new yorkers against gun violence. thank you for being here, tom. were you surprised by these results? >> i really wasn't because what you're seeing on these bills is that democrats and independents overwhelmingly support them and even a majority of republicans do. what these senators who have voted against background checks have done is forget the democrats and independents, they've put themselves to the right of most voters in the republican party. and these states we're talking about are really competitive states. dean heller won by one point last year, jeff flake won by
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three, in states where they won in a midterm but it's been going democratic in presidential years. these are folks who really have to present themselves as moderates in order to be successful politically in their states. and this vote really is not consistent with being moderate at all. it puts you to the right of 75% of your constituents. >> that to me is what i think is significant. i think i underestimated, the policy indications and people do support background checks. i don't think that's really controversial. but the question is, how intensely do they care about that? and one of the things i think happened in the wake of this vote was that there was enough attention put on the vote and the names of people who voted against it and the popularity of the measure itself that it said something about that senator as in terms of their character. what kind of senator they are. whether they're just a craven kept coward who doesn't do what the majority of their constituents want because they're scared of the big bad nra or whether they have the guts to take on the nra. and that character issue seems to be resinating in a way i
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think i didn't think the policy issue would. >> we thought that would pass easy a few months after sandy hook. i think what the american people are discovering is their representatives are more beholden and more loyal to an industry association the nra which represents gun makers than they are to the constituents' health and safety. and i think that makes constituents angry. >> what is changeable here? was it the attention of the president? was it the president's calling people out on the day it failed which i think is in a really fascinating way captured everybody's attention and imagination. he didn't let it go down to defeat without sort of putting a lantern on it and saying look at what they just did. do you that's playing a role here? >> i think the president's really important, but i think that a lot of politicians overestimate the power of the nra. we've consistently found in our national polling that voters by about a 15-point margin are less likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by the nra.
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the nra's not that popular, has a 40%, 45% ratability rating. we did some polling for project new america that found even most people who view the nra favorably support background checks. so this is a situation where maybe the senators should be a little less scared of the nra and a little more scared of the average voters and their states. >> do you think that's true? you and i have had conversations throughout this battle about just how powerful the gun lobby is and isn't. and when you said well, we thought we were going to get background checks easily and we didn't get that. that says the gun lobby is stronger than one might have anticipated and the political consequences here seem to point in the other direction. >> i think it means our politicians are really weak and not representing their constituents. the gun industry after the assault weapons ban expired in 2004, rifle production in the united states went up 38%. the gun issue is going to lose
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in sales. i think the american people are cottoning on to that. the president's stance, of course, is very important. but this was a basic thing. you don't want felons getting ahold of guns. you don't want people who are, you know, seriously mentally ill, you don't want domestic bad news abusers. and it's common sense. and americans have common sense. >> they have common sense, but political attention spans tend to be short. and most of these folks, all of these folks, really, the earliest they'll face voters is a year and a half from now. so the question is, how much -- how much staying power does the backlash have? and what are you seeing in the polling that might indicate predictively how much this is going to be a problem and how effectively you can run an ad against kelly ayotte and jeff flake that hammers on this vote? >> sure, well, i think the ones to look at. let's talk about ayotte and portman, they're up in 2016.
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they got elected in 2010 in a terrible year for democrats where democrats didn't show up or enthused, but their states are pretty democratic. they've started voting pretty consistently. so next time they're up, it's going to be a presidential election, hillary clinton might be the democratic candidate, about absolute dynamo. there's no way they're going to get reelected unless voters see them as being centrist. and this gun vote three years later when they're up for reelection, i think for democrats, will be part of a broader narrative showing folks like ayotte and portman aren't centrist, just as extreme. >> the point, they can't win just a breakdown party vote in those states increasingly. and this gets me to another strategic question. there's now talk in washington state of launching an effort to put background checks on the state ballot. one of the things i thought was interesting. initiatives that were successful partly because of the power of
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the people of the obama candidacy were able to bring to the polls. advocates in washington launching an initiative campaign after state lawmakers declined to require background checks on gun sales. supporters will need to collect 250,000 signatures, if they get enough signatures, it'll go to legislature next year and to the ballot if lawmakers fail to adopt it. does this seem to you a strategy that's worth pursuing for the gun safety movement? >> absolutely. if your elected representatives are not doing what you want them to do, you have to find ways around that. ballot initiatives are one way to do that. you take alaska, both their senators voted against universal background checks. i think it's important to recognize that alaska has the highest rate of gun deaths in the country. they have very high gun ownership rates and extremely weak gun laws and take a state like new york which is passing the new york safe act. we have the fifth lowest rate of gun deaths, which is astonishing since we have new york city, largest city in the country by far and an incredibly low
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suicide rate. low gun ownership rates tend to be from states that supported background checks. >> i looked at the data in alaska and was a little surprised because the cliche about the political culture in alaska is that this is not a place where -- this is not ohio and not new hampshire and it's not a place where you would expect to see them pay a price for this vote. >> yeah, i mean, begich is up for reelection next year and what we saw, his numbers with republicans did not get any better at all, but his numbers with democrats and independents declined. you have a situation where his party base is less enthusiastic about it. even in alaska, and this is the state where we found the lowest support for background checks. even in alaska, it's still 60%. >> in north carolina, tom jensen of public policy polling. thank you both very much. it is not every day a cancer doctor will tell washington politicians to, quote, come look my patients in the eye and tell
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ramification of friday's vote to give the faa special flexibility to deal with sequester cuts began to set in. the precedent they set is that the sequester can and whether be dismantled if the right people are inconvenienced by it. we can be sure others will try and take advantage of. and they should. let's remember, while america's frequent fliers got relief last week, there was no relief for elderly citizens going without hot meals, kids getting kicked out of headstart programs or cancer patients waiting longer for their chemotherapy. today william nibly asked congress to come look my patients in the eye and tell them waiting for a flight is a bigger problem than traveling farther and waiting longer for chemotherapy. here we see precisely the problem. in voting to grant the exemption from the sequester, they have set up a zero sum cage match between various groups of marginalized citizens who have stronger claims for their own
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exemptions and who can point to the mix as a model for relief. chris van hollen urged them to hold firm against any further individual exemptions to the sequester saying i don't think we should be votie ining for th exceptions of this. we're going to have to deal with this in a comprehensive way. it's going to be tough, that's why it'll require a united position and leadership. it could give back democrats some semblance of leverage but will place democrats squarely against cancer doctors lobbying to make sure their patients can continue to receive chemotherapy. democrats are now faced with a question of what to do moving forward. embrace the shameless legacy of the faa vote or stand firm against any and all future exemptions and let the real impacts of austerity step in without limiting the whole destructive experiment. karen bash right now supporting efforts to repeal some of the cuts. congresswoman, thank you for joining me.
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and my question to you is a strategic one, which is what is the game plan here? there was a lot of buzz on friday afterwards that this was essentially a kind of declaration of defeat for democrats on the sequester. if you can repeal the things that are inconvenient for the powerful, what does that mean for the rest of the people? and if you start piecemeal repealing individual parts of it, what is the long-term strategy towards actually getting rid of the whole thing. >> let me just tell you, i agree with you and especially with chris van hallen 100%. i know a number of us had concerns on friday's vote and not so much from the flight delay, but more from the flight safety perspective. but you're absolutely right. we cannot give into this. sequestration needs to be repealed completely. let me tell you, i met with a group of seniors who told me they're very worried about meals on wheels because that's their basic best meal they have in a day. and so one of the things that speaker boehner and the
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republicans have been saying for the last couple of years is for the senate to pass a budget. the senate has passed a budget and so he now needs to call for the conference committee where the senate has passed a budget, the house has passed a budget, we need to come to the table. that way we can get rid of sequestration and pass a budget that is reasonable. >> that's -- from what i'm hearing from you, the strategy is the demand to get a conference committee to get a budget that both houses can agree to as the replacement for sequester. >> absolutely. that's absolutely right. that's the only responsible way to deal with this. we can't take the piecemeal approach. >> can i ask you a question? >> sure. >> you were knocking on doors today. >> yes. >> were you hearing about the faa vote at the door? do people know about it? were people riled up about it? >> no, to be honest with you, they weren't. i'll tell you what they were riled up about. medicare, riled up about the meals on wheels and headstarts because i talked to a lot of moms today. and they essentially are in a panic. they don't want to lose their
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jobs. if they don't have child care, they're going to wind up losing their jobs. that's what head start, the role it plays in addition to educating our children before they get to kindergarten, also a way parents can go to work. >> john mccain said this weekend that congress after being part of the unanimous consent that came from the senate for the faa deal. no one in the senate was willing to be courageous enough to actually vote on the record for it. it was a unanimous consent. senator john mccain had this to say about the priorities in congress which i thought were pretty interesting. take a listen. >> i think we have our priorities a little bit skewed here. look, i'm for giving the faa flexibility, but i want to give the military flexibility and i don't want the sequestration cuts to be as deep as they are on national defense. >> what's your response to the move we're going to see to start getting the defense sector out of the bind of sequester? >> well, see, i think there you have it. i think he reveals the real concern that the republicans have.
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paul ryan in his budget, you know, has talked about completely protecting defense. if it was to continue on a piecemeal fashion, i can guarantee you the pieces they would put up wouldn't be headstart. it wouldn't be health care. it also wouldn't be meals on wheels. and it's going to come down to really this is a way to get it what the real agenda is, which is the republicans are fine with sequestration except for as it hits defense. they want it to hit health and human services. >> here's my question. you voted -- you voted aye, i believe on the faa bill. >> i did. >> you're agreeing with chris van hollen. >> what i'm telling you now is that i'm going to support the ranking member on the budget committee that says the piecemeal approach won't work. and as a matter of fact, it's a very dangerous way to allow the republicans to get at their real agenda, which is to protect defense. my concern on friday was for air
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safety. so i think chris van hollen is absolutely right. >> that's congresswoman karen bass. thank you for that, i appreciate it. >> thank you. chris christie said today the president kept every promise he made on relief for hurricane sandy but six months after sandy, there's a big question we need to ask about how we keep our promises to the next storm's victims. i'll explain next. hey, it's sara. i'm going pro. i've been using crest pro-health for a week. my dentist said it was gonna help transform my mouth. [ male announcer ] go pro.
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today marks six months since
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superstorm sandy hit new york and new jersey. communities continue the slow difficult work of rebuilding. governor chris christie of new jersey says president obama has kept every promise he's made. and new york senator chuck schumer says we're making progress, not only in rebuilding efforts, but in the way disaster relief money is distributed. >> it took too long. there is no question about it. but i think the next six months will be a whole lot better than the previous six. and that's because we learn from the mistakes of katrina in how to put this thing together. >> but tomorrow, april 30th is the deadline for thousands of people in new york city made homeless by sandy. many of them still have nowhere else to go. so the koicoalition is petition the bloomberg administration to extend the arbitrary deadline. the national political battle over relief funding that proceeded the passage of a sandy relief bill did eventually get to where it needed to be, a
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relief to those in desperate need. it was an affirmation of our society's basic belief. people should get the help they need in the wake of a disaster. that a tragic cruel twist of fate shouldn't be the thing that permanently knocks someone off their rung in the economic ladder. here's what adhering to that correct principle looks like in dollar figures. $136 billion has been spent on disaster relief just between 2011 and 2013 according to a study by american progress using conservative estimates, $68 billion came in the form of supplemental appropriations, the other $68 billion through the normal process. half of that spending wasn't budgeted ahead of time. the number of billion dollar weather events has risen from an average of two per year to more than ten per year. that trajectory isn't flattening out. increasing population density combined with the era of climate disaster means that we're going to spend more and more and more on providing relief to victims of weather catastrophes.
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at some point, i'm confident we'll collectively wake up to the fact that ignoring climate change and doing little or nothing about the carbon emissions that exacerbates it is costing us a fortune beyond the loss of life. but the rise in global temperature from the damage we have already done means we need to think in a comprehensive way about what we can do to mitigate the effects of climate related disasters like superstorms, flooding and drought. our political system recognizes, refuses to recognize that we are inviting more and more disaster. and republicans in particular scoff at even the most practical measures preventing the worst kind of damage. in fact, one of the complaints about the sandy relief bill was that billions of dollars would go to mitigation projects to prepare for future storms, to make communities more resilient to future disasters. i spent a lot of time reporting about the aftermath of sandy and the neighborhood one of the hardest hit areas, and what i've come to realize in talking to people barely making ends meet before the storm hit, barely keeping it together and making it to payday, keeping their kids
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in school, keeping their jobs through a commute is that they were just one storm away from total destruction. 30% of small businesses never reopened following a federally declared disaster or emergency. according to a 2010 study by the national federation of independent businesses. we think long-term about a future in which there'll be more sandies, what a society would look like more resilient to those storms. and the answer to that is a society more broadly resilient without the storms. the things that make a place able to come back from natural disasters are the things that make a place prosperous and flourish without storms. strong amounts of social capital, robust public services and access to health care, access to transportation, access to child care and good-paying jobs and decent, affordable housing. a good society that provides those kinds of things that gives people a chance to make it is going to be a strong resilient society in the wake of a storm. the genius of social insurance is that it magically transforms risks individuals might face
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that would be too much to bear into risk that we as a society can face and manage together. we should be looking out for each other even without the threat of waves and wind and floods growing on the horizon. but when the storms do come and they will, it's all that more important that we have each other's back. we'll be right back with click three. well as they could because they don't take it with food. switch to citracal maximum plus d. it's the only calcium supplement that can be taken with or without food. my doctor recommends citracal maximum. it's all about absorption. it's delicious. so now we've turned her toffee into a business. my goal was to take an idea and make it happen. i'm janet long and i formed my toffee company through legalzoom. i never really thought i would make money doing what i love. [ robert ] we created legalzoom to help people start their business and launch their dreams. go to legalzoom.com today and make your business dream a reality. at legalzoom.com we put the law on your side.
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i'm really glad that girl stayed at home. vo: expedia helps 30 million travelers a month find what they're looking for. one traveler at a time. expedia. find yours. jason collins was selected with the 18th pick in the first round of the 2001 nba draft. 12 years, 16 teams later, he's the first active player in the nba to come out of the closet. his story's coming up. first, i want to share the three awesomest things on the internet, including david kelly pitching this. sand sandra day o'connor saying bush versus gore was a mistake. more than 12 years after that decision, o'connor now says maybe the court should've said
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we're not going to take it, good-bye. obviously the court did reach a decision and thought it had to reach a decision. it turned out the election authorities in florida hadn't done a good job there and messed it up. and probably the supreme court added to the problem at the end of the day. fascinating introspection and honesty from a remarkable figure but perhaps a wee bit too late to come that conclusion. after decades of separate proms for black and white students, georgia teens organized and hosted their first integrated prom over the weekend. it all started when one group of friends got together and put up a facebook page and started fund raising. folks from across the country pitched in to help. the "new york times" reports deejays from texas volunteered to play music, a motivational speaker from florida gave a speech and photographers took pictures without cost. the students say a good time was had by all, and thanks to their efforts, the wilcox county school board plans to vote on
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making future proms official future events which would prohibit racial segregation. >> as long as you know you're standing up for something that's right, keep on doing it. keep on going with it. >> those two have so much swag. it's tough enough to be a teenager. hats off to these kids for showing such grace and guts and paving the way for future students. and the third awesomest thing today, this epic takedown. he calls himself a reporter for jones's website, he's the guy you heard who had been publicly questioning authorities as a first question in every press conference to prove the boston marathons wasn't some sort of inside job attack, as in the government planned the whole thing. well, one bostonian appears to have enough. the reports were posted on youtube. here's a taste. >> your voice said this was a false flag. what is that supposed to mean? the fbi's behind the bombing, that's what you're here to cover. and that's why i'm the
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[ bleep ]? the fbi blew those people up on the boston marathon? i'm not saying the fbi blew up the people at the boston marathon. >> i don't care if people think i'm an [ bleep ]. i'm not saying the fbi blew up innocent people. you're saying that and that's what makes you a dumbass. >> oh, yeah? >> there you go. why are you in my [ bleep ] neighborhood? >> that is, i think, when they say don't mess with boston. you can find all the links for tonight's click three on the website. we'll be right back. it's monday.
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red or blue? ♪ all right. big, big news today. something momentous happened today. i think a lot of us have been waiting with anticipation. a real turning point, a signature moment in the continued struggle for equal rights for lgbt folks. today, jason collins became the first active male athlete in the major american team sport to publicly announce he's gay. finally, the active big four american sports has broken this barrier. there have been other active professional athletes come out, they just didn't play team sports or they weren't american. last october, for example, orlando cruz came out before a big fight. he later told the advocate that i wanted to show i'm a man fighting another man in the ring. there's a lot of misconception
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they being gay means i want to be a woman. that's not the case. garrett thomas came out and played two more seasons before retiring. and in a reminder of how difficult it can be to come out publicly as a professional athlete, the great tennis star martina navratailova tweeted today. his celtics coach doc rivers said this today of collins coming out. if you've learned anything from jackie robinson, it's that teammates are always the first to accept. it'll be society who has to learn tolerance. and it seems that rivers was right. reaction around the nba has been substantially supportive. former all-star baron davis says i'm so proud of collins for being real. and steve nash tweeted, the time has come, maximum respect. even lakers superstar kobe bryant who two years ago was
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fined $100,000 for using a gay slur against a referee tweeted saying proud of jason collins, don't suffocate who you are because of others. >> if you're openly living that type of lifestyle, then the bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that, you know, that's a sin. if you're openly living in un unrepenitent sin, whatever it may be, i believe that's walking an open rebellion to god. and to jesus christ. >> luckily for broussard -- if a very public essay collins wrote, i didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing an american team sport, but since i am, i'm happy to start the conversation. i've gone to enormous lengths to
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live a lie. i was certain my world would fall apart if anyone knew. yet when i acknowledged my sexuality, i felt whole for the first time. a couple of hours ago, the president of the united states himself called jason collins to express his support and tell him he was impressed by his courage. it should not be a big deal in 2013 to public announce he is gay. and the fact that it still is might say a lot about the culture of the average american sports fan. don't go away. we're going to talk about this with dan savage. and coach hudson taylor next. the humble back seat. we believe it can be the most valuable real estate on earth. ♪ that's why we designed our newest subaru from the back seat forward. introducing the all-new, completely restyled subaru forester.
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we're talking about the coming out of nba player jason collins. joining me tonight dan savage, the co-founder of the it gets better project. and founder and director of athlete ally, a nonprofit group that works with athletes to combat homophobia. dan, let me begin with you, talk about the significance of today, how big of a deal did this feel like to you? >> it feels almost as big a deal as the don't ask, don't tell repeal. we've been told for years that the presence of openly gay people, particularly openly gay men. there's been a lot of out lesbians in the wnba. we've been told it's different, that straight men, you know, straight men are very obsessed with being -- a gay man in a team sport like
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football, baseball, basketball or hockey because to be a gay man is to be perceived as weak and feminine. to be a lesbian basketball player is to be perceived as, you know, a lesbian is perceived as more more masculine. and we were told that gay people because we're weak, because we're feminine, but not all of us, look at jason collins and now openly gay marines in the u.s. marine corps. we're not all weak and feminine, though some of us are and those guys are fine too and part of the community too. and our presence isn't the destabilizing toxic force that we've been told that the culture told itself that it would be. we've seen the don't ask don't tell repeal described as the biggest nonissue ever to hit the united states military that it didn't have the negative impact that the religious right claimed it would. they said that 500,000 troops if it was repealed. two did, both chaplains who could be spared. and i think what we're going to see with openly gay athletes in professional sports is, again,
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it turning into the biggest nonissue -- another big nonissue. because the culture is ready for this. i thinthis is a lagging indicator not a leading indicator of where we're going. >> it's so interesting because in the essay that collins wrote, he actually talked about don't ask, don't tell repeal. he explicitly made that parallel. the idea of the intimacy of the barracks or the locker room of these very male, straight sort of homophobic spaces that can't tolerate this kind of thing. and he said, look, actually, they can, right? i thought that was really an interesting comparison to point to these places as the last redoubts of the closet. >> and i'm so happy that we've arrived at this point. like you said, it's really silly. the fact that 2013 we've got headlines talking about a guy's come out with his sexuality. but to an extent, the sports can help break down this last frontier, i'm happy and he was
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courageous although it was at the end of his career. i think the real litmus test is going to be where he lands next year. we were just talking about that. at this moment, i'm sure nba execs are all trying to figure out how this is going to play out, you know, is it going to play out with texas? should it be out west? i think he's going to end up somewhere just because a, somebody -- david stern somebody is going to say, listen, somebody's going to -- >> if he didn't, right, he's 34 years old, i believe. he probably -- he's a big guy. you read in the article, he had a hilarious line, he said i've got six hard fouls to give. but i think, you know, there's two questions here about the reaction. dan, you're talking about lagging and leading indicators. the question is, there's a locker room question. there's this great charles barkley quote. he's like back in 2011, of course i played with gay men. just because people are in the closet doesn't mean they're not gay.
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there's the locker room reaction and then there's the fan reaction. tell us about the organization which you founded which grows out of your experience as an athlete in the locker rooms and seeing a culture that made you uncomfortable. >> sure. i founded athlete ally to get more straight athletes to speak out against homophobia in sports. i started wrestling since i was 6 years old, but one thing that remains true in locker room after locker room, sometimes coach after coach, i would hear my peers use that homophobic and derogatory sexist language to isolate and segregate those perceived to be less masculine. and so, you know, i really took an issue with that as someone who has friends that came out and, you know, realizing that diversity is beneficial to athletic success and that we as an athletic community will be better the more diverse we are, the more talents we can draw on and that's only going to happen when we can have openly proud
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lgbt athletes. >> i don't spend a lot of time in nba locker rooms and you have, is the culture in those places -- i know that what culture is, i know what people dropping an "f" word against someone or a slur on a pick-up game in a locker room, i've seen that, of course. is that the culture? >> no, i think that's softened, chris. rutgers notwithstanding. >> yeah, right, we saw the rutgers coach fired partly for using precisely -- i think as a man or boy has played organized s sports has heard that o word a lot. >> things have softened because a lot of athletes have family members who are gay. so that stuff has softened. but there's this precisely this berlin wall that just has to do with this sexuality and this myth of manhood and what it is and what it isn't. and the nakt that collifact tha
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that has kicked a lot of butt. so, yeah, i think that has softened. >> dan -- >> what this debate comes down to is not who gay people are and where gay people are. we are who we are, and if there's no openly gay people in whatever environment you're talking about, that doesn't mean there's no gay people. i think what this comes down to is who straight people are. this isn't about whether jason collins or other athletes who happen to be gay are pansies, it's about whether heterosexual men, if they're afraid of gay men, if they're jumping up on chairs and shrieking and too terrified to shower in the same conditions that marines and sailors and airmen and everyone shower in. that's the irony here. this isn't about who gay people are, this is about who straight people are.
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and are straight people better than they've been built? are straight people less bigoted than they've convinced themselves they are? as we saw in the military after the repeal and a lot of lgbt soldiers came out and it was a nonissue and they were accepted by their peers that they were serving with and i think we're going to see the same thing in elite pro male sports. because straight people are better than that. better than the bigots give them credit for. >> i think there's absolutely more allies than we give the athletic community credit for. one of the major obstacles that we've had thus far is that in male sports, there are still relatively few out gay male athletes and you don't have that context that you do in other spaces. when i go and talk to college athletes about why it's important to be conscious of their words or how we can be allies to the community, sometimes they'll say that's great but i don't know anybody that's gay. and that's something that i think jason's announcement today is helping to change.
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we need more people to come out and more allies to speak out if that's going to be the case. >> and all straight people need to know is you do somebody who is gay, you just don't know you know somebody who is gay because they're not out to you yet. >> and we've seen it as you've talked about it before and we've had a conversation as you've talked about as quote our superpower. that the fact that being in every part of society and then actually being publicly in every part of the society. we've recently seen it with rob portman. that is the power that we've seen in the momentum, the tremendous momentum in social change we're seeing right now. and bill, do you think you're enjoying to see that power? 6:00 are are we going to see dominos fall? >> this is what i hope happens, chris. he described himself as a young black man who came out -- what i hope will happen with a lot of young black athletes. number one, there are so many political issues that we really need their voices, all right.
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we really need gun control, mass incarceration. hopefully they'll become empowered by seein this. >> not just on this issue, but the courage to come out on this issue. that's interesting. thank you all. that is all in for this evening. the rachel maddow show begins right now. >> when i came out, i went back and met with my friends who i played club basketball with in high school to tell them and see if they were okay with it. and my cocaptain, her reaction to it was, well, did you ever like me? and i said, no, no, man, you're not my type. and she said, oh, well, why not? >> i'm hoping that's the reaction across nba locker rooms everywhere this evening. >> i hope so too. happy monday. all right. here is guam. guam is an island as you can tell. zoom out. you can see it is way, way out there in the pacific ocean. if you think

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All In With Chris Hayes
MSNBC April 29, 2013 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT

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